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OAS Ministers Says Fujimori Proposal Not Enough

May 19, 1992

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) _ Foreign ministers from across the Americas say Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori’s plan for an elected constituent assembly is weak on details and doesn’t prove a commitment to restoring democracy.

″He doesn’t have very much to offer in terms of a return to full democracy,″ said Panamanian Foreign Minister Julio Linares.

Fujimori on Monday told the ministers from the Organization of American States’ 34 member nations, gathered in at a resort hotel, that he would call open elections for a ″national constituent congress″ to reform the constitution within about five months.

He promised to give the new congress some unspecified legislative authority and oversight powers over the presidency, but many of the ministers complained that he wasn’t specific enough.

″The devil is in the details,″ said Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger. The U.S. diplomat nonetheless called Fujimori’s unscheduled appearance and address an indication that the Peruvian leader might allow a return to democracy.

With solid military backing, Fujimori dissolved the congress and the courts on April 5, announcing that he would rule by decree.

The OAS strongly condemned the action, which Fujimori said was necessary to act decisively against an entrenched Maoist guerrilla threat, cocaine trafficking and a desperately ailing economy.

Some OAS nations, including the United States, Canada and Venezuela, have adopted economic or diplomatic sanctions against Peru.

Fujimori said his impoverished nati’s desperate plight demanded drastic action. The ministers said they were sympathetic, but not convinced.

″We don’t find any justification for breaking the constitutional order,″ said Colombia’s Noemi Sanin de Rubio.

Nonetheless, a formal resolution passed by the ministers included no new sanctions. And Fujimori, in an impromptu late-night press conference, declared his trip a success.

″It’s very positive,″ he said. He said he came ″to achieve the understanding of the ministers. I think I wasn’t mistaken.″

On Sunday, the foreign ministers agreed to tighten economic and diplomatic sanctions against Haiti, where the army ousted elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in September.

They were prepared to condemn Peru again, but agreed that Fujimori’s proposal showed some flexibility and that further moves should be encouraged.

In an interview with Peruvian television, Fujimori said:

″The pronunciation does not speak of sanctions, far from it. That means that my message, which spoke of the Peruvian peoples’ desire for a profound reform, has been heard.″

He repeatedly expressed his ″firm will to create a viable, democratic system″ and said human rights would be respected in Peru.

A report by a special OAS human-rights mission was critical of the wave of arrests and other rights violations that have taken place since Fujimori’s power grab, but said the situation was improving.

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